There are few people who haven’t heard of The Daily Show, a popular late-night talk show airing in the US. Airing on Comedy Central between Monday and Thursday each week, people can tune into ‘fake news’ where people satirize selected news stories, political figures and more. The show also makes use of various forms of comedy, including self-referential humor.

Impressively, The Daily Show has been around for over two decades, having made its original debut back in July 1996. At the time, it was hosted by Craig Kilborn, and these days Trevor Noah has been at the helm since he took over in 2015. There has been particular popularity for this show among younger viewers; namely those who fall into the 18 to 49 age bracket. Interestingly, just under half of the viewers tune in for entertainment, and 10% go to the show to get news headlines.


Each episode of The Daily Show follows a set format. To begin with, there is an opening with the date, and then the host carries out a monologue which addresses current news stories and current affairs. There is then usually a segment with a correspondent, such as a debate at the desk with the host or from a false location behind a green screen. There will sometimes also be correspondents travelling to various places in order to conduct reports with a comedic slant. They will often be given stupidly specific names, such as the Senior Political Analyst, for the topic they are reporting on.

Some segments which have been recurring over time include Back in Black and Your Moment of Zen. There has also been a segment called Mess O’Potamia, which began after the 2003 Iraq invasion. The InDecision segment, acting as a parody of the Decision segment seen on NBC News, is the show’s version of election coverage. Since Trevor Noah became the host, a recurring segment has been What the Actual Fact, which sees Desi Lydic analyse statements that have been made by political figures at events or during selected speeches.

Cast and characters

The current team of correspondents on the Trevor Noah version of the show is known as The World’s Fakest News Team. Those who feature include:

  • Ronny Chieng
  • Michael Kosta
  • Desi Lydic
  • Dulce Sloan
  • Roy Wood Jr
  • Jaboukie Young-White
  • Lewis Black
  • Neal Brennan
  • Gina Yashere

Other big names have been involved with the show in various ways. For example, Steve Carell was a correspondent in the past, and Stephen Colbert was the host of the spin-off The Colbert Report. Furthermore, when previous host Jon Stewart took a two-month leave of absence, comedian John Oliver filled in as host and went on to have his own show on HBO called Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.


Originally, The Daily Show was created by Madeleine Smithberg and Lizz Winstead. The show was a replacement for Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central, as this title ended up moving to ABC. The show became more politically focused when Jon Stewart took over from Craig Kilborn, who was a co-anchor on ESPN’s SportsCenter. When Kilborn left, he went to The Late Late Show with CBS. Under Stewart, he also became a writer and executive producer for the series. There was a different style, which had a political slant that continued with Trevor Noah when he took over in 2015. At the time, Amy Schumer, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock and Louis CK had all been considered for the position also.

Episodes and reception

It’s safe to say that it would take a viewer new to The Daily Show a long time to get through all of the episodes which have aired, as it has been on the air since 1996. Craig Kilborn was the host between 1996 and 1998, and he was replaced by Jon Stewart between 1999 and 2015. Trevor Noah has been the host since 2015. According to television ratings drawing on 2008 data, the average viewership for the show during this time was between 1.45 and 1.6 million people. This is a high number of people, and it rose to 2.5 million as the average by the time 2013 ended. It has been revealed to be popular in cities and politically liberal areas on the coast of the US. While it is most popular in San Francisco, the least viewers are located in Alabama.

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